Today, we finish the first chapter of Romans. This is not easy stuff. It's very important, though.
We want to let God's Word speak for itself. Please pray "God help me understand your message for me" and read the following verses.
I'll jump in with a little commentary -- but -- most importantly -- let God speak to you in these words.
What is He trying to tell you -- tell us -- tell our nation? Let's see:
Romans 1: 18-32
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
God’s presence is defined in everything around us. He is clearly with us, yet people turn away from him. You don’t have to look hard to find evidence of our sin. Just check out the media – TV, movies, magazines.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
This passage is chilling. Many people today who claim they are “wise” “saavy” or “enlightened” have turned their backs on the basic principals God gave us for living. They have created new idols to worship: self centeredness, laziness, money, sex, TV, fame, looks. Check out reality TV (or, actually, stear clear of it!) You will find disturbing evidence of how we have become “fools.”
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them .
These passages speak for themselves. God is pointing out our sins. No one sin is bigger than another. The big difference is whether we see sin (or the way we turn away from God) for what it is: something we need to run away from. In today’s society, however, some people, not only embrace their sin, but demand we all condone and applaud it.
Notice the list. Gossip, arrogance, envy, murder, disobeying parents, sexual sins – all are listed together. We need to examine our lives and see where we stand in light of verses 28 – 32.
We need to humble ourselves and ask forgiveness and pray for strength to stand against the powers that pull us in the wrong direction.
Everyone has weaknesses. The devil knows our weaknesses and will taunt us into falling into them. Simply be aware of the powers that call us to sin. Run away. Pray. Take time to read God’s Word. Pause. Ask God to help you take a stand against a culture which reflects verse 32.
More than anything, we want to make sure we are not practicing verse 32:
32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
May God forgive us and help us. Our world is certainly confused.
God, please help us embrace your light and shine that light on others.